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tv   ABC World News With Diane Sawyer  ABC  January 5, 2010 6:30pm-7:00pm EST

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on on "world news," demanding action. president obama says the christmas bomb attempt could have been presented. and what happened is unacceptable. sudden impact. cold to the bone. nine days of snow, monkeys and sloments at the zoo with space heaters? hidden danger. a new form of elder abuse. silent, deadly. now a nurse and pharmacist facing charges. and happy endings. the pandas we met in china now shout "we are family." good evening. president obama was blunt today.
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the u.s. had sufficient information to disrupt the christmas day plot. but the dots were not connected, and that, he said, is unacceptable. we go to jake tapper at the white house to tell us what is next. jake? >> reporter: good evening, diane. according to a white house official, the president told his national security team this afternoon this was a crewup that could have been a disaster. we dodged a bullet, but just barely. it was averted by brave individuals, not because the system worked, and, he said, that is unacceptable. it was an intense meeting in the situation room this afternoon, where president obama pressed his national security team on how abdulmutallab was able to board northwest airlines flight 253. >> when a suspected terrorist is able to board a plane with explosives on christmas day, the system has failed in a potentially disastrous way. >> reporter: in remarks after the meeting, the president used a version of the word fail nine times in as many minutes.
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>> fail. fail. failure. >> reporter: and he was talking about his government failing to adequately protect the american people. >> we face a challenge of the utmost urgency. as we saw on christmas, al qaeda an its allies will stop at nothing in their efforts to kill americans. >> reporter: in the meeting, homeland security secretary jan element napolitano briefed the president on enhanced airline screening measures. more explosive detection teams and enhanced screening for passengers from 14 nations with ties to terrorism. white house homeland security adviser john brennan briefed the president on intelligence failures. the conclusion? the information about abdulmutallab was there, but the intelligence community failed to connect the dots. >> the us government had sufficient information to have uncovered this plot, and potentially disrupt the christmas day attack. >> reporter: the president described other reforms. updating the terrorist watch list and adding more individuals to the no-fly and extra
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screening lists. and getting stricter about granting visas. the president privately told his team that while there will be a tendency for pinger pointing,ly not tolerate it. but clark irvin says without the president firing anyone, there is no true accountability. >> the proof of the pudding as to if he's serious is whether actually heads roll as a result of this failure. >> reporter: now, diane, it remains possible that somebody will lose their job over this, but the problem, one white house official tells me, it wasn't just the fault of one person or even one agency, it was many people, many agencies. diane? >> and on the question of guantanamo bay, the president said he is still going to close it down? >> reporter: he is. but of course, they've announced today that they're going to suspend sending any detainees to yemen for the time being. that complicates the closure, because maybe 85 to 90 of the detainees remaining at beg guantanamo bay are from yemen. they will not be able to meet the deadline this month, or
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maybe this year. and there's the issue of what, are they going to do with aum the yemeni detainees? >> jake, thank you. and we're going to head to yemen, where the government ordered thousands of troops into terrorist strongholds today, and martha raddatz is still on the ground there, and joined up with the forces, searching for al qaeda. >> reporter: for close to an hour, we watched these yemeni security forces march across a dusty military base in southern yemen, knowing that these are the forces the u.s. is now depending on to help keep america safe from al qaeda terrorists. we were invited to take a front row seat by the general who commands the security forces, yaheh saleh. remembering similar scenes from many years ago, with the fledgling iraqi security force that was out of uniform and out of sync, these forces seemed professional and more motivated than most. and brigadier general saleh, the american-educated nephew of
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yemen's president, gave a fiery speech. "we will sacrifice our blood and souls to fight al qaeda," he said. al qaeda first used yemen to launch attacks against the u.s. in october of 2000 when suicide bombers rammed a speedboat packed with explosives into the "uss cole" killing 17 sailors. after that bombing here in the port of aden, the yemeni government was fairly successful in its counterterrorism efforts with the help of the u.s. and today, they are once again getting help. you are getting more u.s. trainers? >> every time things getting worse, we get support more. >> reporter: u.s. special forces are providing the training, but drones are providing aerial surveillance and officials say cruise missiles have provided firepower. this week's aggressive raids against al qaeda just 20 miles from the capital, left the nephew and teenage son of a top
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leader dead. u.s. officials say this is not just for show. they are geared up for a fight, said one. a fight that will likely take many years. martha raddatz, abc news, sanaa, yemen. our thanks to martha. and back to washington. a stunning piece of video today, surfacing on that third white house party crasher. he's a washington party planner. pierre thomas picks up the story. >> reporter: this man gets out of a van, looks around once, then proceeds right through the front door of the white house to the state dinner. there's just one problem. carlos allen, who appears to be the man in this video, a washington, d.c. socialite and party giver, was not invited to the party. it appears the salahis were not the only uninvited guests at that state dinner. >> it's unacceptable and it's got to be corrected. >> reporter: sources tell abc news allen mingled with the
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indian delegation which gathered at washington's willard hotel. there, the group went through an initial security screening as requested by the indian government. it's unclear if allen was ever asked to show identification. when the group arrived at the white house by van, secret service personnel then waved them in, no names checked, assuming everyone in the van was supposed to be there. >> you cannot let anyone into a controlled space, particularly with the president, without being cleared. >> reporter: the secret service says the state department was responsible for this aspect of security for the event. >> it's a very serious ongoing criminal investigation. >> reporter: the bottom line, an uninvited guest was on white house grounds with no background check. according to government sources, no such assumptions will be made in the future. everyone will be checked at the gate. pierre thomas, abc news, washington. and next, this weather and more arctic air on the way. tell that to my voice. down south, crops are being
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treated and plant ic units up north. man and animal are shivering together. john berman reports from a town that just won't quit. >> reporter: the good news is, it's a light, fluffty snow. the gad news, it's come down for nine straight days. more than four feet of it here and more is coming down right now. it's part of this national cold onslaught that's hitting so much of the country. what do you do when it never stops snowing? >> the average it's been twice a day. since new year's. >> reporter: here in fulton, new york, shoveling is a full-time job. >> this is the third time i have shoveled today. >> reporter: the great snow assault began here on december 28th, then kept coming and coming, piling and piling, day after day after daytimes nine. more than 50 inches and counting. for these hearty northern warriors, the snowy cold is a nuisance, but other parts of the country, it's a nightmare. and a heartbreak. in tennessee, where overnight lows hit 12 degrees, four people have died, hypothermia the
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cause. in new jersey, a nuclear power plant was shut down because of ice in its cooling system. in central florida, with temperatures below freezing all week, farmers are performing a kind of citrus cpr, spraying warm well water on trunks and lower branches. the freezing process actually creates energy, stored within the ice, to keep the fruit warm. further south in palm beach, manatees are huddling for warmth near a power plant. and at the palm beach zoo, those suited for the tropics need help in these temperatures. the parrots are getting space heaters. the sloths, too. >> the most vulnerable animals are the ones we are giving the most heat to. >> reporter: creatures big and small, trying to shut out this cold. back here in fulton, fork, where it snowed for nine straight days, the forecast for tomorrow, and the day after and the day after? snow. in fact, the entire eastern part of this country is going to be hit with another cold front, winds as high as 40 miles an hour, and it could bring snow to
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the deep south. diane? >> snow with the possibility of more snow. okay, john, thanks to you. and pictures now from china. in mongolia, a train trapped in snow more than six feet high. 1400 passengers stranlded for more than 30 hours. light, heat, very little to eat or drink. rescuers dug them out. and moving on now, we're learning more details tonight about the bomber who killed seven cia agents in afghanistan last week. who betrayed them? and exactly how? brian ross brings us the story. >> reporter: as the cia mourns its dead from the attack, the questions grow about how professional spies could have been so taken in, failing to spot a double agent, and letting a suicide bomber into their midst. the cia's afghan outpost at forward operating base chamman is in the middle of enemy territory, not far from the pakistan border, and the nerve center in the hunt for osama bin laden. security here is supposed to be tight, new nick schifrin of abc
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news reports the bomber was escorted around the checkpoints. >> reporter: he'd been to the base half a dozen times. and because of the information he claimed he had, the cia officers told the local guards not to search him as he went past three layers of security. >> reporter: the cia thought its informant was bringing information about the location of al qaeda number two, ayman al sa wary. operatives gathered to hear the report when the bomb went off. >> normally when you meet an asset like this, you have one, maybe two people. so i think people are going to point out inside the agency they shouldn't have 13 people. >> reporter: the double agent was a 32-year-old doctor from the town of zarqa in jordan. and among those killed was a jordanian intelligence officer, a cousin of the king, who had been the lee sayon between the jordanian informant and the cia. >> they're outsourcing intelligence. they're having to go to the
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jordanians to ask them for help for getting into al qaeda, because we simply can not blond hair blue eyed americans cannot get out into these camps. >> reporter: the double agent doctor played his role to the hit, telling the cia he needed to attack the u.s. on al qaeda websites so he could establish his credibility with other terrorists. >> he demanded violence against the united states in the most brutal way. you know, he was -- he was rapidly pro al qaeda. >> reporter: and now it turns out that was no act, and the implications are huge for u.s. efforts against al qaeda in the region. every single unsuccessful air strike, every single fact he provided, every other informant working for the u.s. in the area, will not have to be closely re-examined. nothing short of a major catastrophe for u.s. intelligence at a time when their best efforts are needed. >> thank you, brian. and still ahead on "world news," is this latest kind of elder abuse? a nurse and pharmacist stand
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of seniors abused in nursing homes, from physical assault. john hendren reports on three caretakers in court today, charged with a form of elder abuse that cannot be seen on tape. >> reporter: what happened in this nursing home nestled in the california mountains shocked investigat investigators, when residents complained or annoyed hughes, the nursing director chemically restrained them with powerful drugs. three died. >> i just thought it was old age. >> reporter: phyllis peters' mother, fannie mae brinkley was a feisty 97-year-old who suddenly lost energy. >> i'd say i can't get my mom awake. she just won't arouse. she's lethargic. i can't get her awake. >> reporter: no one told her mother had been given a powerful anti-seizure drug that, prosecutors say, killed her. >> i am absolutely convinced she would have lived to be 100. absolutely. >> reporter: most shocking,
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hughes had been fired for overdrugging once again. jerry brown says hughes ordered one patient drugged for glaring at her. some were left drooling, dehydrated and dangerously thin. >> elderly people were actually held down, restrained against their will and drugged. and in other cases, were given excessive amounts of medicine to keep them quiet. to manage them. >> reporter: what happened here in this rural california nursing home may be an extreme case but experts say overdrugging is common nationwide and the number of nursing home residents who are being given these drugs is rising. nursing homes are now giving ant anti-psychotics to one in four patients. some suggest they're replacing physical restraints, now illegal, except as a last resort. so they're hiding the restraints. >> they're hiding the restraints. physical restraint is visible. a chemical restraint is not.
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>> reporter: the law for the doctor in the case plans to cite the widespread use in his defense. >> to suggest that using psychotropic medication is contrary to a patients best interest is just flatly contradicted by what happens everyday in the united states >> reporter: a food and drug administration official estimates each year, unnecessary ant anti-psychotics kill 15,000 nursing home patients like fannie mae brinkley. john hendry, abc news. >> our website,, will guide you through detection and prevention. coming up, we'll show you why everyone says these gadgets are the next big things. (announcer) sinus pressure.
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other rare but serious side effects may occur. it happe it happened today. it is here. the battle of the two titans. google versus apple, joined. and the ganlt of the new century the next big thing. kate snow has quite a day. >> reporter: i did, diane. let's start with what everybody is buzzing about right now, the new google phone. it knows where i'm sitting right now and if i say i'm hungry for pizza, there's pizza. right now, though, 27% of smart phone users have iphones. but not if google can help it. it's google's attempt of moving from an internet search site to
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a must-have device. >> they're squarely going after apple's iphone market. >> reporter: but apple has another trick coming in this clash of the tech titans that just might change the mobile game again. it's called a tablet. this is one of the earliest versions. expensive, only used in places like hospitals. but rumor has it, apple has invented a tablet for the masses. these unauthorized pictures are floating around online of a flat screen you touch to read books, play games, search the web, watch movies. we think the first apple tablet will be this size. i'm going to need to get a new handbag. but the idea is, you would no longer need to cart around a computer, a calendar, a shopping list, blackberry or a dvd player, ipod. and no need to visit the newsstand for a newspaper or a magazine. this demo of what "sports illustrated" might look like on a tablet got a lot of attention. what about the argument that this could put magazines out of
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business? >> no. boy are we in business. this is a whole other way for me to edit, for you to consume. this is a door being kicked open. >> reporter: you have to embrace it. you have to go with it. >> at least you want to dance. >> reporter: at least you want to dance. with apple leading the way, a tablet could really revolutionize the world of publishing, and some analysts say, it could be a kindle killer. a key question will be how expensive it is. but if the price comes down, they think it would break into the market very easily. it might seem outrageous but one tech insider suggested that apple might sell 10 million tablets in just the first year. that's a very big number. >> and everybody wants to take on the chinese in the world market, too. that's 1.3 billion people. >> reporter: potential customers. >> thanks to you, kate. and when we come back, how did this furry family bounce back from disaster? miralax.
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6:56 pm feel that an and finally tonight, from ashes, a kind of animal heaven. after the earthquake in china, david muir stopped in on some pandas in peril. but look at them now. >> reporter: the story on chinese television tonight -- ten giant panda cubs, six girls, four boys, arriving in shanghai for the world expo.
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a remarkable sight, given the images a little more than a year and a half ago. pandas huddled atop snapped tree trunks. peering through the leaves in fear. terrified after the massive earthquake, so were their caretakers. there only 1,600 pandas left in the world. this caretaker told us at the time six ran away. the pandas they did find were brought to this sanctuary. we were given a rare invite. they were determined to keep their rescued pandas safe. this cub is the welcoming committee opening the door for us. even then, it was hard to miss their frisky nature, already making a comeback. right after the earthquake, many of the cubs clutched on to one another, instead of answering their caretakers calls, which is very unlike them, they actually had to go up to them and coax them out of the trees. then, this -- the panda ward, the first newborns. and today, news of those ten new cubs. defying an already low fertility rate among pandas, and fears the earthquake would disrupt that
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even more. today, strolling under the tree trunks instead of clutching them. as joyful as the caretakers who saved them. david muir, abc news. >> great news. good night to all of you. hope you have a wonderful night. we'll see you here tomorrow night, and i'm not going to talk until then. we'll be back.
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